Two of the police officers accused in the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap were at a loss as to why they were included as respondents while another police officer was already AWOL prior to the killing.
These were the issues raised by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the first preliminary investigation on the multiple murder complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Police Officers 1 Jane Briones Gisma and Divine Grace Baclas Songalia said they were not part of the November 5 operation.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo told the two officers to raise the issues in their counter-affidavits.
Gisma, Songalia and 12 other CIDG members told the DOJ panel of prosecutors that they do not have lawyers.
“We are under restrictive custody, we cannot go out to find a lawyer,” Senior Police Officer 4 Juanito Ampado Duarte said.
“Can’t your family find you a lawyer?” Alejo, head of the DOJ panel of prosecutors, asked.
“If the PNP Chief will allow us, we want to go out and look for a lawyer,” Duarte said, to which Alejo said their families can help them find a lawyer.
But Duarte said their relatives would not know how to talk to a lawyer.
“How come the others managed to find a lawyer?” Alejo asked.
“They have the money, ma’am. We only want a volunteer lawyer,” Duarte said.
Alejo gave all the respondents up to Jan. 23 to submit their counter-affidavits.
She said those who do not have lawyers by then can write their responses even on a yellow paper.
“I will accept it even if you put it in a yellow paper and in Tagalog if you still have no lawyer by then,” Alejo said.
Alejo said the DOJ wants to expedite the proceedings as much as possible.
On the other hand, Senior Superintendent Marvin Marcos said one of their co-respondents, Police Officer 2 (PO2) Niel Patrimonio Centino, has been absent without official leave since Oct. 5, 2016 or exactly a month before Espinosa and Yap were killed inside the Baybay Jail.
Aside from Centino, Paul Olendan was also absent during the preliminary investigation.
Aside from the submission of counter-affidavits, Alejo also directed the witnesses of the NBI to subscribe to the complaints on the same date.
Aside from Alejo, the other members of the prosecution panel are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia L. Torrevillas, Assistant State Prosecutor Jinky P. Dedumo, Assistant State Prosecutor Karla T. Cabel and Prosecuting Attorney Moises Y. Acayan.
The proceedings stemmed from the murder, robbery, malicious procurement of search warrant, perjury and planting of evidence charges that were filed by the NBI against Marcos, Superintendent Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, Senior Inspector (SI) Deogracia Pedong Diaz, SI Fritz Bioco Blanco, Senior Police Officer 4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, SPO4 Eric Palattao Constantino, SPO2 Benjamin Layague Dacallos, SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano, Jr., PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 Niel Patrimonio Centino, PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpilla, PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan, Cristal Jane Briones Gisma, Divine Grace Baclas Songalia, all assigned at CIDG Regional Office No. 08, Port Area, Tacloban City; as well as PCINSP Calixto Cabardo Canillas, Jr., PINSP Lucresito Adana Candelosas, SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan, and PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal, all assigned at Regional Maritime Unit 8 Port Area, Tacloban City.
The NBI also recommended the filing of perjury charges against PCINSP Leo Diao Laraga and PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa.
Also charged with perjury and malicious procurement of search warrant was Paul Olendan, the witness used by the police to obtain the search warrants against Espinosa and Yap from Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr. of the Regional Trial Court branch 30 in Basey, Samar. JE/rga